Crony businesses

In addition to film-flam, the solar energy industry apparently is too financially feeble to survive without government subsidies in North Carolina—and probably most other States. If these industries offer quality products in a free market to consumers willing to pay a competitive price, I say, more power to them. But that’s not what’s going on—people in these endeavors enjoy a cozy, favored relationship with government.

Taxpayer paid “incentives” and other coercions, including shifting tax burdens to other people, and forcing large energy producers to buy a percentage of sales from favored tax subsidized suppliers of “alternative” fuels lurk behind the smiley-face news.

Government-manipulated markets are bad for consumers, producers and all other taxpayers. An article by Ken Little in the recent issue of the Greater Wilmington Business Journal ( unintentionally tells a crony tale about the “solar energy initiative” in North Carolina.

While fickle film-makers threaten officials with leaving North Carolina if they lose the State-Sugar “incentives,” solar company investors wait to see if the General Assembly pulls the plug on their weak source of power. According to Rhone Resch, CEO of Solar Energy Industries Association, our legislators have produced “smart and effective public policies.” Smart for his personal interest, but dumb for the interests of the general public—mandates increase the costs of our heating and cooling bills.

Even dumber is his justification for the solar scam, “the U.S. solar industry is helping to fight the battle against damaging carbon emissions.”

No scientific theory proves that manmade carbon emissions cause “damage.” In fact, carbon dioxide—the latest boogeyman promoted by radical environmentalists, the duped press and crony businesses—is a life-giving gas, necessary for plant growth on earth.

The GWBJ reports 161 solar companies in North Carolina employing 3100 people, but at what cost to the rest of us? Not only is energy costing us more than it should, but these businesses usurp our incomes through direct tax subsidies.

Claims about dollars “invested” and homes powered with solar energy divert attention from the corrupt, incestuous relationship between solar companies and the state—financially a bad deal for most of us and an immoral abuse of government power. The North Carolina General Assembly should abort these ill-conceived mandates and subsidies; and soon.


About R. E. Smith Jr.

Mr. Smith writes essays and commentary on politics, American history, environment, higher education and culture. He's been published in print media and at blog sites for about 25 years. Smith's formal education includes B.S. and M.S. degrees from the State University of New York and Syracuse University. He has earned a 21-credit hour Certificate in Professional Writing from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Training/work experience: NYS Ranger School; U. S. Army, Corp of Engineers; soil scientist and forester with USDA; Assoc. Professor at SUNY; real estate agent; small business owner.
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